By Taroue Brooks
Tell us about your education.
Education to me comes in two forms: formal and informal. Often times what I end up using on a daily basis is my informal education. But that’s not to say part of my decision making process doesn’t involve my formal education. Florida A & M University (FAMU) and Mississippi College School of Law both served their purposes. FAMU, on one hand, was rooted in self-discovery. Because before leaving New Orleans, I was never exposed to anything but the neighborhoods I grew up in. And while those neighborhoods taught me much about the “streets,” it did little for me in terms of what it would take to interact with people who didn’t look like me or talk like me or think like me or dress like me. To be honest, FAMU was one of the biggest culture shocks of my life. Through it all, however, I learned more about myself, my love for Black history and culture, and my passion to serve others. It was FAMU that forced me out of my shell, and I’m grateful for it. On the other hand, MC Law was my professional training ground. If nothing else, law school is a place that prides itself on the idea of being prepared, always. Like people say, “Preparation and persistence is key.”
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
As long as I can remember, becoming an entrepreneur is something I’ve always wanted for myself. If for nothing else, then for having or possessing something that could generate generational wealth or family business. Something we can be proud to call ours. One of the more common reasons jumping into entrepreneurship is not wanting a boss. So, I formed The Manego Group, which has been in operation for a little over two years now. To that end, nobody tells you that your clients become your “boss” to some degree. Maybe not on a daily basis but your job becomes the “needs of the client.” But, that’s quite alright. One thing I will say is as an entrepreneur I get to finally incorporate all the things I wanted from my previous employers. More importantly, I get to discard unwanted practices in terms of work culture or office environment. That, in and of itself, is a blessing. Beyond that comes with the hope of building a consulting firm that devotes a portion of its budget to investing in other Black businesses, Black communities and Historical Black Colleges and Universities, especially FAMU.
Tell us about your company and services.
The Manego Group (“TMG”) is an innovative, problem-solving consulting firm based in Washington, DC that seeks to advance intersectional and progressive policy through a multidisciplinary approach. A fraction of the work, however, is wrapped in government relations particularly in the utility sector. Aside from that, we take on small strategic communications and social media management for entertainers and athletes. Lastly, we appreciate the power of human capital and ways in which it can be leveraged to support progressive causes.
What kind of experience can be expected in working with your firm?
A client or partner can rest assure that staying above board is paramount. Moreover, TMG prides itself on being a reflective and active listener with each client to ensure we have done all we could to meet their needs. Something else we take seriously is being open and transparent on whether or not we can take on a particular project for whatever rhyme or reason. Lastly, TMG put the “P” in professionalism. From the beginning to the end of every engagement, those who work with us can count on us to be on time, return emails, and answer phone calls.
What motivates you in making a difference in our society?
Good question. All in all, transformative change for marginalized communities, Black and Brown communities, underserved communities is the “why” for me. Listen, I would be lying to you if I didn’t say family falls in that equation as well. In the end, the goal, at least for me, is to leave a lasting impact on every person and community I “touch.”
Tell us why the black voters matter.
Black voters matter because it is a God given right, an unalienable right. It’s at the voting polls we can begin to elect legislators that bear our communities in mind in order to advance a pro-Black agenda. That said, You still hear people Black people saying “our vote doesn’t count.” I respond by asking, “If your vote didn’t matter, then why are people putting in overtime and pulling out all the stops to ensure you don’t or can’t vote?” Our. Votes. Matter. We matter. Period.
How can we do motivate the Black community to VOTE?
To be honest, federal elections, especially during presidential years, Black people come out to vote. Black women in particular show up and show out. That being said, I don’t know if the onus is on Black communities to “motivate” ourselves. The Democrat and Republican parties have put forth candidates that have anti-Black agendas. Most of the time these voters know that “code language” being used by politicians and, quite frankly, are turned off by it. Candidates need to have a well-thought our plan that is specific to Black communities. That would move the needle in the right direction in order to turn out more of the Black vote.
How important are mentors?
Mentors are priceless. Each of us should have two to three we can count on for sound advice regarding lift decisions. We don’t necessarily have to use the advice; however, the notion is we trust these persons enough to guide us in the right direction.
Where do you see your firm in the next five years?
In the next five years, I hope to see TMG become a household name in the political space.